Babies born at Guelph General Hospital receive a new kind of welcome through a partnership between The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital and the Guelph Public Library.

The birth of a baby is already a special time, but it has just gotten even more special at Guelph General Hospital.

Now babies born at the Rotary Club of Guelph Family Birthing Unit receive a bundle of goodies neatly tucked inside the handy and reusable “Born to Read” bag.  A copy of the storybook Goodnight Moon, a 2-year no-fines library card, a healthy recipe book, and information about the Foundation’s  Footprints for the Future program are just a few of the treasures new parents will find inside.

Footprints for the Future is a program that allows families to contribute straight back to the Family Birthing Unit (FBU) and Special Care Nursery.  With a minimum donation of $100 the Foundation will engrave a footprint with the baby’s name and date of birth.  Each footprint is placed on the Birthday Wall in the corridor outside of FBU and families are invited to bring baby back for photos.  This enduring legacy commemorates the birth while paying tribute to the FBU and allowing them to upgrade and purchase new vital equipment for future birthing families.

The hospital and the library have never partnered together before but David Levett, Clinical Director of Maternal/Newborn, Special Care Nursery and Paediatric services sees it as a natural fit.

He enthused, “This is truly an exciting partnership.  Staff at the Family Birthing Unit work hard to create great starts for babies and their moms and dads.  The Guelph Public Library provides additional support by offering a variety of story times to foster early language development and by creating welcoming spaces for caregivers to enjoy with their children.  We all want the same things, a caring community with well-supported families and kids.  The Guelph General Hospital is proud to be part of the Born to Read initiative.”

Levett’s sentiment was echoed by the Guelph Public Library’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Kraft, who agreed wholeheartedly that the partnership was one of shared goals.

“Thanks to the generous donation from our Friends of the Guelph Public Library, we are able to support families as they develop a love of learning in their children. Our programming and spaces provide opportunities for socialization for the kids and also for parent-to-parent support.  Raising children is the toughest job there is and the library wants to be there to help right from the beginning.   Partnering the Born to Read program at Guelph General Hospital is such a joy for all of us here.”, remarked Kraft.

Kraft also noted that the new Born to Read library cards provide participants with no late fines for two years.  He stated, “We understand how hectic life is in a household with babies and toddlers. We don’t want to create any barriers to accessing our resources and services.”

Back at the hospital, there has been a lot of excitement over the Born to Read and Footprints of the Future bags with families reporting how comforting it is to feel well informed about the services available to them.  This partnership between the hospital and the library is resulting in a wonderful send off for babies born at the Guelph General Hospital.